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ICC biology professor, Lal earns grant for work on antibiotics

ICC biology professor, Lal earns grant for work on antibiotics

Dr. Archana Lal, biology professor at Independence Community College

Independence, Kansas – January 30, 2017 – Dr. Archana Lal, biology professor at Independence Community College (ICC) received a $1250 grant from the Department of Developmental, Molecular, and Chemical Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine. The grant includes $750 to attend the American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Education (ASMCUE) at Denver, CO from July 27- 30, 2017.

The funds serve as seed money to purchase supplies to study Prevalence of Antibiotics Resistance in the Environment in Lal’s microbiology class.

The project involves using systematic techniques to assess the microbes present in a soil sample that can grow in the presence of two different concentrations of the antibiotic, tetracycline.

“The idea is that there is widespread presence of antibiotics in the environment, animal farms for instance,” said Lal.  “We know that where there are antibiotics, there is selective pressure, yet there is no systematic reporting system in place to monitor resistance levels. 

ICC students enrolled in Lal’s microbiology class this semester will collect soil samples from different locations, record characteristics about the sampling location, sample soil, subject the soil to serial dilution, and plate the dilution series onto petri plates with and without antibiotic.

In the following class period students will count the colonies growing in the plates and perform calculations to determine the percent of cultured organisms that are resistant to the two levels of tetracycline.

This data will ultimately be recorded into a national database.

“Students will gain a valuable hands-on experience of authentic microbiology research, said Lal. “They will participate with other students around the country to coordinate the efforts using a crowd-sourcing approach to track environmental antibiotic-resistance that cannot be done by a single research group.”

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Independence Community College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.